Actor and singer Lee Mead is relishing the chance to play himself on stage in a tour to promote his latest album.
Lee, who shot to fame when he won the West End musical role of Joseph in the TV series Any Dream Will Do back in 2007, hasn’t looked back since.
He starred in hit musicals Joseph,Wicked and Legally Blonde before scoring a coveted role in the long-running BBC One drama Casualty playing the character of Lofty.
Lee has just finished his run as eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which brought him to the Sheffield Lyceum.
He said: “I’m quite sad to finish – it’s been a brilliant dream come true.”
He was looking forward to being able to do school runs with daughter Betsy, aged six, who he hadn’t seen for two weeks.
Lee is going back on the road to promote his album, Some Enchanted Evening, including his date at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield next Friday.
He said: “I’m playing myself, singing great songs.
“The album came out in February and went top 20. I was quite shocked! It features lots of songs from 1940s and 50s films.
“Songs from the musicals have been done by other artists such as Michael Buble and John Barrowman.
“We said, how about we do songs from that era and make them quite modern arrangements?
“It could be a bit old-fashioned but the single that got played on Radio Two was I’ll See You In My Dreams, that was in written in 1929, but we’ve given it more of a contemporary feel.”
The songs Lee performs live include the album’s title song from South Pacific, Singin’ In The Rain, Luck Be A Lady from Guys n Dolls, Where Or When from the 1939 MGM film Babes in Arms, I Fall In Love Too Easily from Anchors Aweigh and I’ll See You In My Dreams.
He said he’d done a couple of appearances last year in small venues to test out the material and felt that it went well.
He works with musical director Mason Neely, who arranges the songs for Lee and produced the album.
Lee said modestly: “He organises the music side and I just sit back and go and sing.”
He added: “Being a smaller artist, not like Michael Buble, you have to work harder because you haven’t got those production values.
“Ultimately it comes down to putting a story in a song, hopefully choosing the right songs and taking people away for three or four minutes.
“That’s more important in a way than dancers and big screens on stage.”
Lee said that he hasn’t left Casualty but needed a break from filming in Cardiff because of being away from that little girl who needs taking to school by her dad.
He said: “Please don’t kill me off! Currently he’s been travelling and a return has been left open.”
In the immediate future, Lee is looking forward to performing in a star-studded pantomime at the London Palladium this Christmas, playing Prince Charming in Cinderella.
To what does he owe his success? “I’ve always tried to work really hard and be kind.
“There’s a lot of arrogant, rude people.
“It’s about graft and not taking things for granted.”
n Some Enchanted Evening is at the Pomegranate Theatre next Friday, October 14. Box office: call 01246 345 222 or go to Chesterfield Theatres